NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 24


Day Twenty-Four Click here for the full post.

Today, our featured participants are Writing in North Norfolk, where you will find a swift and lyrical poem responding to Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Light Gatherer,” and Graham Parker’s Poetry, where you’ll find a meditative response to the Carl Phillips poem we shared yesterday.

Our featured reading is pre-recorded. It’s a reading by Ross Gay for Kelly Writers’ House.

Prompt: Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article/ National Geographic – make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Go back through the text/replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something abstract, like “sadness” or something more concrete, like “the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.”

You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.

Happy writing!

Photo by Pixabay on


Before my Dr appointment this morning I enjoyed reading to and listening to poems. Today is a workshop heavy day so I knew I would be short of Napo time (it’s a real thing). So before I was out walking in the sun or had even had a coffee I feasted on words. This is one of the golden things about NaPoWriMo the instant poetry access that becomes almost like extra dreamtime. Haze head mornings full of vision.

So I read the featured poems, read and listened to Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Light Gatherer” and had enough time to watch the amusing introduction to the Ross Gay reading. Ross is a poet whose work I am familiar with, but it passed me by that he is such a prankster. Delightful stories made for one of the best introductions of any reading this month. Brilliant.

Whilst I was in the waiting room I read the Ross Gay biography and re-familiarised myself with his work.


I managed to catch up with this prompt this morning (Day 26). I wrote my poem a day late on the 24th before having the joy of the full reading.

I revisited the featured poems and sat with them for a while. First, Kim M. Russell’s poem Clever Fish. I enjoyed the nod to Day 23 with 23 lines.

pops and kisses
verbs that swim
of verse,

glittering silver-
scaled words

I liked the interconnection to Kim’s chosen line from ‘The Light Gatherer’ by Carol Ann Duffy (from Feminine Gospels): “When language came, it glittered like a river, silver, clever with fish”

And Graham Parker’s poem Bouée de sauvetage pêche uses one of the example poems  “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips, as a starting point. I enjoyed spotting the connections.

In an ink sea, I drift with Gizzi, feeling flummoxed and dizzy – why won’t he rhyme or row in time with me – maybe I should not mind?

…… from your schooner you saw me.

You threw me a life belt named meaning; it had my name on it.

And you sang out – SWIM!


I had the delightful pleasure of watching this reading and enjoying the introduction all over again.

A Eva & Leo Sussman Poetry Program

Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry and nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Ross is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, “River.” He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project.

This program originally occurred on November 7, 2016.


I revisited the prompt, on the 23rd I got as far as a National Geographic animal search. I wrote my new poem on the 24th and my Search engine/homepage was showing Adélie penguins. So I changed my animal.

I invented my exchange line (which was to do with forests), copied a section of text, exchanged the animal name for my line, went back to read for sense and changed the line accordingly, then copied the entire text, cut a lot of original content and rewrote it a couple of times. In the end it is still holds the essence/theme of survival – after all it is animals and plants suffering due to the impact of Global Warming.

a trace of once grand green.

© National Geographic

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